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Homelessness is a Team Sport"
Our Goal: SSUSA uses the power of soccer to help homeless men and women dramatically transform their lives. We utilize the power of sports, in this case soccer, to promote player development not merely on the field, but in every aspect of life.
Values:Teamwork, Community, Education, Empowerment
Strategy: SSUSA sees homelessness as the result of a breakdown of community. Rather than treating homelessness as a series of individuals with problems, we form and foster, through sports, a positive community for people who are homeless. SSUSA then uses this team platform to create a training curriculum of job preparation, life skills, and other specialized services, ultimately connecting participants directly to jobs, education, and housing.
Results: Our results speak for themselves. Street Soccer USA directly impacts the players we serve.
91%of program participants have learned essential life skills that have led to life-changing outcomes in health, education, housing and employment.
75% of street soccer players are connected to jobs and housing, complete a rehabilitation program, or further their education within a year of joining the program.
20 cities across the United States have Street Soccer USA programs
Vision: SSUSA plans to spread its program across North America, with a target of reaching 50,000 homeless men and women in three years. We may not eradicate homelessness overnight or through sports alone, but SSUSA will change lives, teach important lessons and build self-esteem. 75% of players will move off the street within a year of joining the program. Our goal is to reach 100%. We plan to scale our impact through training and accrediting partners and affiliates.
Street Soccer USA is a 501(c)3 charity serving homeless and at-risk teens across 20 US cities including Chicago. The program was founded at the Urban Ministry Center, a soup kitchen and resource center for the homeless in Charlotte, NC in 2007. The participants embraced the model and together have developed a unique sport based curriculum that changes the way in which we serve the homeless. Our goal continues to be to empower participants to overcome homelessness and poverty through sports.
What Street Soccer USA saw was more and more teens and young adults showing up at soup kitchens and homeless shelters seeking help, but they needed more than a case manager, food, and referrals. What they lacked was family and a support structure. On top of that they didn’t trust anyone. Street Soccer USA founders started a soccer team there because sports gives structure and support, something everyone needs throughout life. On top of that sports create one-of-a-kind trusting relationships between coaches and teammates.
To date, 75% of Street Soccer USA players connect to jobs, education, housing, or reunite with family within a year of joining the program. Street Soccer USA also hosts a national sport for social change tournament once a year featuring our team from each city. The event was hosted in Times Square, New York City in July 2013 and sponsored by the Department of Homeless Services of New York City.
In Chicago, we are currently partnering with La Casa Norte, Mercy Homes, Heartland Homes and Teen Living. Our focus in Chicago is to grow from serving 4 sites and 1 team with approximately 100 young men per year, to serving 10 social service agencies reaching out to women’s agencies and youth agencies in The Chicagoland area. We want to make sports ubiquitous with social services, ultimately serving thousands of homeless and impoverished youth and adults with our program who otherwise would languish in poverty.
- Otto Rodriguez
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